I'm currently a research associate at UCL working with Robb Rutledge and Peter Dayan (see my personnal website above for more information). 

PhD project

During my PhD, I worked on cognitive fatigue under the supervision of Mathias Pessiglione and Guillaume Hollard.

Cognitive fatigue has been studied for many decades through the evolution of accuracy and response time of participants performing cognitive tasks for minutes or hours. However, these variables are known to evolve quite differently with time and depending on the participant. Many factors like fatigue, motivation, training, boredom could explain such variability. We have used as an alternative a neural concept (decrease in neural excitability) measured through economics decision making (intertemporal choice): the (time) preference of participants is known to depend on executive function capacity (i.e. LFPC activity) but not on the aforementionned confounds. 

In a first study, we have found an increase in choice impulsivity with time-on-task associated with a decrease in LPFC activity while participants performed hard cognitive tasks for around 6 hours more than while another group performed easy cognitive tasks or played video games (Blain et al., PNAS, in press). We have replicated this behavioral result in a field study with medical students rehearsing their medical lesson. 

Then, we have used the same measures to study the interaction between physical and cognitive fatigue at another time scale (weeks): being overtrained lead to increase choice impulsivity and to decrease LPFC activity. These projects are achieved. 

We are now characterizing potential biological bases of such LPFC impairment through different physiological measures (pupil dilation, ECG, EEG, respiratory gas) as elicited by cognitive fatigue or TMS stimulation.  



  • Blain, B.,  Pessiglione, M (in prep.). Physiological cost of mental effort.
  • Blain, B.,  Marra, D., Pessiglione, M (in prep.). Rehearsal lesson makes medical students more impulsive: behavioral evidence and physiological markers.
  • Blain, B., Schmit, C., Le Meur, Y., Hausswirth, C., Pessiglione, M. (submited). Physical overtraining and decision-making: evidence for cognitive control depletion.
  • Blain, B.,  Hollard, G., Pessiglione, M (in press, PNAS). Neural mechanisms underlying the impact of daylong cognitive work on economic decisions.

Poster presentations

  • Blain, B., Schmit, C., Le Meur, Y., Hausswirth, C., Pessiglione, M. (2015). Physical overtraining and decision-making: evidence for cognitive control depletion.  Poster presented at Symposium in Biology and Decision Making, in Paris. 
  • Blain, B., Rigoux, L., Hollard, G., Bouret, S., Pessiglione, M. (2014). Dissociable effects of mental and physical fatigue on decision making. Poster presented at Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, in Washington. 
  • Blain, B.,  Hollard, G., Pessiglione, M. (2013). Hard cognitive work makes you more impulsive: behavioral evidence and neural mechanism. Poster presented at Society for Neuroeconomics Annual Meeting, in Lausane. 


I am teaching a Neuroeconomics class I have built up in the Economy & Psychology Master (Paris 1 Sorbonne University, 20 hours class).

I have taught Microeconomics, Linear Algebra and Tax System to students from the bachelor of Economics (Paris 1 Sorbonne University). 

Academic Background

I have studied Cognitive Neurosciences and Economics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris and at the 'Cogmaster', a Master degree in Cognitive Sciences.

Lab experience

I have also worked (during my first year of master degree) on the perception of money with Catherine Tallon-Baudry (2008-2009) at the Pitié Salpétrière Hospital (Cogimage Lab, CRICM).

Other professional experience

I have other professional experiences: In 2010, I worked during 6 months at France Stratégie (a French institution depending on the Prime Minister and delivering expertise and decision making advice).